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Raphael is a phytoplankton ecologist who wishes to understand the fundamental question: what controls phytoplankton growth and distribution in the ocean? More specifically, how do the multiple interactions of light, macro- and micronutrients and phytoplankton physiology determine the rates, processes, and patterns we observe in the marine environment?


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Kendra is interested in the application of molecular tools and techniques to better understand harmful algal bloom ecology and toxicity.  Her Masters thesis focused on developing a QPCR method to indentify Pseudo-nitzchia species at the Monterey Wharf.  She’s become more involved with algal toxin analysis since joining the Kudela Lab and her current projects include monitoring at the Santa Cruz Wharf and SCOOP.

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Misty studies phytoplankton ecology by focusing on the nutrient needs of pico- and nano-plankton. She uses epifluorescent microscopy and molecular probes to analyze their phosphate, nitrate, and iron requirements both in the laboratory and field settings. Current research includes determining the phosphate requirements of species of dinoflagellates and synechococcus off the coasts of Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, and studying dinoflagellates' use of vertical migration to relieve nutrient stress.

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clarissa profile

Since 2003, Clarissa has focused her research on the question of what physical, chemical, and biological conditions favor the growth of Pseudo-nitzschia species over other phytoplankton genera, and which conditions initiate toxin production.This work involves model development using field data that will hopefully enable reliable predictions of extreme toxic events via the assimilation of dynamically downscaled forecasting products and satellite retrievals into a regional habitat model.


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Anna completed her masters in 2008. While a student in the Kudela lab, she investigated methods for estimating iron concentrations in coastal waters remotely, and participated in the Gulf of Alaska and Wind to Whales cruises. Currently, Anna is working on creating and updating educational websites and tools for the lab.

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Regina began her PhD in the Kudela Lab in the fall of 2010 and is interested in the growth and toxicity of the mixotrophic dinoflagellate Alexandrium catenella. She earned her MS in Marine Biology from San Francisco State. Here she focused on the nitrogen uptake capabilities and domoic acid production of Pseudo-nitzchia multiseries. While here at UCSC, Regina has finished up some preliminary work to determine that A. catenella ingests the microalga haptophyte I. galbana using a probe previously used by Nilo called Lysosensor. Click here for full summary.

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Corinne is a PhD student and NOAA Nancy Foster Scholar. Her MS thesis research at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories investigated the food habits of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii) in San Francisco Bay, with a focus on the increasing importance of invasive species in the diet. At UCSC, Corinne is conducting research investigating the movement of the cyanobacteria Microcystis aeruginosa, and associated toxin Microcystin from terrestrial to marine environments in Monterey Bay. Additionally, she is interested in the trophic transfer of this toxin, and the potential impact of this toxin to estuarine birds and seabirds.

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Cristián began his Phd in the Kudela lab in 2014. He has a bachelor degree in Marine Biology from Universidad de Magallanes in Chile. He earned his MSc on Aquatic Biology from Swansea University in the United Kingdom. His area of interest and specialty are toxic dinoflagellates. Cristián is culturing these dinoflagellates to discover what triggers their toxicity under different scenarios. This information can help us understand in which conditions blooms are formed and how toxic they are.

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Dana is a Master's student in the Kudela Lab at UCSC.  She is interested in using new technologies to approach phytoplankton ecology questions.  Her current research involves using the Kudela Lab's Imaging Flow Cytobot to observe phytoplankton communities with high temporal resolution.

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Jesse is focusing his Ph.D. work on improving our understanding of large-scale trends in phytoplankton ecology using ocean color satellites. Presently, he is working on improving our ability to measure chlorophyll concentrations in coastal waters. Jesse received his bachelor's degree in biology (Clark University) and his Masters Degree in marine ecology (Hebrew University of Jerusalem). He enjoys teaching and is an avid swimmer.

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Meredith began as a PhD student in the Kudela lab in the fall of 2015.  She completed her BS and MS research under Richard Zimmerman at Old Dominion University studying in situ optical properties of coastal waters as an undergrad student, and developed a mechanistic model to predict the impact of environmental conditions on carbon uptake and isotope discrimination in Eelgrass (Zostera marina) as a graduate student.  While in the Kudela lab, Meredith plans to build on her previous experiences by broadly focusing on remote sensing as a tool for understand the biogeochemistry of coastal systems.  Stay tuned for more details as she develops her dissertation research!

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Henry works on developing remote sensing tools to characterize phytoplankton groups in coastal zones. He’s particularly interested in using ocean color spectra to identify diatoms and dinoflagellates in Monterey Bay, which would be a useful tool for coastal monitoring groups. He also hopes to apply remote sensing of phytoplankton to improve our understanding of how upwelling and stratification affect diatom and dinoflagellate competition in the California Current.

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